mashup deaths first quarter
Credit: Getty Images; Paul Skipper/JPI

The daytime community will never forget them…

It’s always a sad day when daytime loses one of its own, and in the first quarter of this year alone, there have already been many deaths that have hit pretty hard. While it’s a tough part of the job, reporting the deaths of soaps’ beloved stars and those who have left their marks behind the scenes, always enjoys paying tribute to the members of our daytime community because, in the end, they will never be forgotten.

In the beginning of 2023, word came that actor Michael Levin had died from natural causes at the age of 90. He first hit the daytime scene in 1975 as Jack Fenelli on Ryan’s Hope, a role he played for 14 years, and later briefly turned up on As the World Turns as John Eldridge, as well as on All My Children as Dr. Gould, in the early 90’s. Though they didn’t have many scenes together, Louise Shaffer, who played Rae Woodard on Ryan’s Hope, recalled how much she admired how he handled playing a romantic lead. “So often the guys who played those storylines didn’t seem to have anything else going on but being in love,” Shaffer shared. “Mike made it clear that Jack adored [first wife] Mary — and later [last wife] Leigh — but he was always a fascinating character on his own.”

RYAN'S HOPE - Wedding Gallery - Shoot Date: May 25, 1976. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)KATE MULGREW;MICHAEL LEVIN

A few days later, on Wednesday, January 11, Passions vet and multi-talented actor Ben Masters, who battled dementia for several years prior, passed away at the age of 75 as a result of COVID. He was a star on and off the stage and landed his first soap role in 1982 on Another World as Vic Strang but he’ll always be remembered for playing Harmony’s rich and powerful, and often naughty, Julian Crane. There are so many fun and very comical memories that he made on the NBC soap.

julian passions

More passings were announced during January and at the end of the month, news that Annie Wersching had lost her battle with cancer broke the hearts of so many. General Hospital fans will remember her for playing Amelia Joffe in numerous episodes in 2007, but Wersching really excelled in primetime in such roles on Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, Timeless, Star Trek: Picard, The Rookie and so many more.

Then the next month, more heartbreaking news hit when we learned that Cody Longo had been found deceased in his home on February 8. He was just 34. Longo had been one of four actors to play Nicholas Alamain on Days of Our Lives and turned up numerous times in primetime, most notably as Eddie Duran on Hollywood Heights.

Daytime continued to shed many tears, as friends and co-workers of General Hospital producer N’Neka Garland learned of her sudden passing on Monday, March 27. At 49 years old, she was described by Laura Wright (Carly) as “a shining star,” one whose smile “lit up the room” and whose laughter “brought so much joy.”

And as the year goes on, it’s inevitable that more lives will be lost but we’ll continue to honor the works of those in the genre and the storylines they leave behind.

Please join us as we look back at the careers of those above and others who have passed by opening our photo gallery below of soap stars lost, so far, in 2023, where you’ll be able to learn more about their memorable characters.